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Maddux gets 300th victory

Posted: Sunday, August 08, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO Greg Maddux has always been a man of little fanfare, so that's exactly how he handled his 300th win with a quiet step into history.

Maddux never returned to the field after the final out was made. Fans hollered as he worked his way down the hallway to a postgame interview, and Maddux practically pursed his lips to keep from reacting. It took a near mugging by a bunch of teammates at his locker to finally make him smile.

''It's pretty special,'' he said. ''I like to look ahead. I've never really looked back. When I'm done playing I'll look back. I'm sure I'll pat myself on the back then.''

Maddux calmly overcame a shaky start to become the 22nd major league pitcher to reach 300 victories, leading the Chicago Cubs over the San Francisco Giants 8-4 on Saturday.

Maddux relied on guts, guile and his bullpen to win his 300th game because he never quite found the pinpoint control that has so defined his stellar career.

''Obviously, to win 300 games, you've got to have a lot of help. I've played on a lot of good teams, and a lot of times, you're only as good as the guys behind you. Today was a good example,'' Maddux said.

He is the first National Leaguer to accomplish the feat since Philadelphia's Steve Carlton in 1983. Roger Clemens was the last to do it on his fourth attempt for the New York Yankees on June 13 last season.

Maddux needed just two tries he got a no-decision in his first chance last Sunday against the Phillies.

In the clubhouse, Sammy Sosa and several others surrounded Maddux for a celebratory shower of champagne and beer. Once he was soaked, Maddux enjoyed his first visible celebration with a long swig of champagne.

''Here you go, Hall of Famer!'' one player said.

Maddux left in the sixth with a 6-3 lead, no outs and two runners on, bumping fists with manager Dusty Baker. But Maddux didn't acknowledge the cheering, sellout crowd as he headed into the dugout and then on to the clubhouse to wait out his fate after throwing 82 pitches.

The Cubs' relievers came through.

Jon Leicester and Kent Mercker escaped the jam with Chicago ahead 6-4. Mercker retired Ray Durham on a popup to end the sixth inning.

Kyle Farnsworth got Dustan Mohr to ground out with the bases loaded in the eighth, and LaTroy Hawkins secured the win with a scoreless ninth.

After the final out, Cubs fans held up a large ''W'' banner, and a graphic recognizing Maddux's achievement was shown on the center-field scoreboard. But Maddux never came back onto the field. He didn't feel it would be right to hold a huge celebration in somebody else's ballpark a sign of the humility that his teammates and coaches have come to expect.

''It was fitting. Greg meant what he says. He's a sincere man,'' Baker said. ''He pitched well enough to win. You don't win 300 games with your best stuff all the time.''

Cardinals 2, Mets 1

ST. LOUIS Rookie Yadier Molina, batting with the bases loaded after an intentional walk to Larry Walker, blooped a single to center with two outs in the ninth to lead the Cardinals.

Walker, acquired in a trade with Colorado on Friday night, was welcomed with a standing ovation that lasted well over a minute when he pinch-hit with two on and one out in the seventh. A near-sellout crowd of 45,364 stayed on its feet throughout the at-bat and gave him another ovation even after he struck out against Kris Benson.

Braves 6, Diamondbacks 2

PHOENIX Paul Byrd won consecutive starts for the first time in nearly two years, allowing two runs in 7 1-3 innings his longest outing of the season.

Chipper Jones backed Byrd with two RBIs and Rafael Furcal had an RBI double for the Braves, who won for the ninth time in 10 games and improved to 17-5 since the All-Star break.

Byrd (4-3), who missed last season with elbow problems, allowed five hits and no walks in his best performance since working seven scoreless in a 4-0 win over Cleveland on June 19. That was his first appearance since having ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow on July 1, 2003.

Marlins 5, Brewers 0

MIAMI Jeff Conine hit a grand slam and Ismael Valdez pitched six shutout innings to win his debut with Florida.

Valdez (10-6), acquired a week ago in a trade with San Diego, allowed two hits and walked three. The outing was the longest in his past eight starts, and he reached double figures in victories for the first time since 1998.

The right-hander improved to 3-0 with an ERA of 0.86 against the Brewers this year.

Expos 8, Astros 3

HOUSTON Jon Rauch won his first start for the Expos, and Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run homer to help snap Montreal's three-game losing streak.

Rauch (1-0), acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Carl Everett, was called up from Triple-A Friday night. He allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings, while striking out four and walking one.

Rockies 9, Reds 5

DENVER Jeromy Burnitz and Preston Wilson hit consecutive homers in the second, and the Rockies scored five in the sixth inning to defeat Cincinnati.

With the score tied at 3, the Rockies sent 10 hitters to the plate in the sixth and took an 8-3 lead. Todd Greene had an RBI single and rookie Jorge Piedra, who replaced All-Star outfielder Larry Walker, drove in two runs with his first major league hit.

Dodgers 6, Phillies 3

LOS ANGELES Odalis Perez pitched seven scoreless innings to snap the Phillies' four-game winning streak.

Shawn Green homered for Los Angeles, which ended a string of seven straight losses to Philadelphia. The Dodgers have won 25 of their last 32 games.

Perez (5-4) won for the first time in seven starts, a stretch that included five no-decisions. He allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two.

Pirates 3, Padres 1

SAN DIEGO Kip Wells allowed four hits in 8 1-3 innings for his first win since July 5.

Wells (5-6) gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth inning to fall two outs short of his first complete game since Sept. 7, 2003, but did help end the Pirates' five-game skid. The right-hander had five strikeouts and walked two. Jose Mesa finished for his 31st save in 33 chances.

San Diego lost for the fifth time in six games, all at home.

David Wells (6-7) allowed two runs and 10 hits in seven innings, while striking out six and walking three.

The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the first when Craig Wilson hit a two-out RBI single and scored on Ty Wigginton's double.



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